Thirty-eight witnesses, 23 sessions, four weeks of public hearings on, and the Chilcot inquiry wraps up for the year much as it began, defending itself.
Right from the start Sir John was anxious to stress that the committee was “apolitical and independent”, “committed to openness” and determined to “not shy away from making criticisms where they are warranted.”
But equally early on a majority of Fleet Street’s big guns weren’t having it.
“Boring, miasmic and faintly dishonest”; “a panel that the toadiest of Blair toadies would have chosen”; “Tony Blair will get away with it. Again.”
Today’s end-of-term Chilcot statement wasn’t announced in advance on the inquiry website – unlike his opening one – so it’s hard to say when it was decided upon or written (it was certainly subject to some late tweaks.)
I told the inquiry’s press chief that it read like a fight-back, a response to its critics. Not at all, he replied – just a restatement of what the committee’s about and how it works.
Like I say, formal evidence has finished for the year but the panel will reconvene tomorrow to meet families of some of those killed or injured during the war and subsequent insurgency.
No live tweets as press access is understandably being kept fairly minimal but you should see some coverage on the last ever C4 News at Noon and the far-from-last-ever seven o’clock bulletin.
We don’t yet have a timetable for January but evidence resumes on 5 January. We’ll continue to blog and tweet any relevant developments but in the meantime make sure to have a great break. x